Reconstructing the Dream: March and Event Mark African American History Month 4 p.m. Feb. 25

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The 44th People’s World African American History Month Celebrations, “Reconstructing the Dream” will be keynoted by Rev. Scott Marks, director of New Haven Rising and co-founder of Connecticut Center for a New Economy. He will address the way forward for equality and justice in 2018, 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, and 150 years since W.E.B. DuBois was born. A national leader of Unite Here, Marks has organized people from all races, nationalities and genders to fight for their homes, jobs and communities. He is traveling the country to train new African American union leaders and is organizing the I AM 2018 effort to carry forward Dr. King’s legacy.

The event will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave, New Haven, CT 06511. Prior to the event, a march has been organized from the New Haven Peoples Center through the Dwight neighborhood to Troup School. The march, themed “Jobs for Youth, Jobs for All,” will remember neighborhood youth who have been killed, and is sponsored by Ice the Beef, New Elm City Dream/YCL and New Haven Rising.

The event will be opened with drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray. Prizes will be awarded in the Arts and Writing Competition Grades 8 through 12. Students were asked: “What lessons can we learn from Dr. King’s courageous life? What kind of collective action is needed in 2018 to carry his legacy forward? A video “Remembering Dalzenia Henry, Grace Cummings, Emma Fair” will honor the memory of three African American Communist women leaders in Connecticut. Ice the Beef will perform excerpts from King and DuBois.

A donation of $5 or what you can afford is requested. No one will be turned away

Black History Month Events at the Wilson Library

by Marian Huggins, New Haven Free Public Library

This year’s Black History Month theme for the library fea-tures two prominent writers: James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Along with partners from Project Longevity, we will show the film I Am Not Your Negro, a work adapted from an unfinished James Baldwin manuscript. The screening will be held at the Wilson Branch, 303 Washington Ave., New Haven, on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.

James Baldwin, described as an “American Novelist and Social Critic,” unearths the hard truths about racism in America while describing his responses to the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and Malcolm X.

Langston Hughes, whose birthday by the way is Feb. 1, was a prolific poet and social activist as well. His writing could be biting, but was usually cloaked either in humor (as in the Jesse B. Semple Stories) or softened by the hopefulness of a future when all would be accepted, like in the poem “I, Too”:

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.
Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

The Urban Life Experience Book Discussion Series will feature a biography of Langston Hughes for our February meeting, Feb. 24 at noon. New readers are welcome and readers can choose whatever biography (or autobiography) written for teens and adults they’d like to read for the discussion. The Langston Hughes biography is in conjunction with our Black History Month celebration and it fits in with the cultural and social justice theme of the discussion group. The book discussion will be followed by the film Hughes’ Dream Harlem at 1:30 p.m.  Wilson Branch, New Haven Free Public Library, 303 Washington Ave., (203) 946-2228.

Commemorate the 200th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ Birth

Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand. It Never Did, and It Never Will.

Quinnipiac University will mark the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth with a series of events to honor his life and his many achievements. One of the high points will be a yearlong exhibition curated by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute that focuses on the time Douglass spent in Ireland and his enduring relationship with that country.

Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland. At the age of 20, he escaped to the north, where he quickly established himself as a talented speaker and writer.

In 1845, Douglass wrote his life story: “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Written by Himself.” To avoid being captured and returned to slavery, he traveled to Europe. He spent the first four months of his exile in Ireland, returning there three more times in 1846. Douglass described his time in Ireland as “transformative” and as “the happiest days of my life.” In 1847, he returned to America, his freedom having been “purchased” by female abolitionists.

Exhibit: Frederick Douglass Remembered.

Dates: Feb. 2, 2018, to Jan. 28, 2019
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.
Main Exhibition: The Lender Special Collection Room, Arnold Bernhard Library, Mount Carmel Campus, Quinnipiac University, 275 Mount Carmel Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518

Friday, Feb. 2. Frederick Douglass in Ireland: “The Black O’Connell” (Frederick Douglass in Éirinn: An Conallach Gorm) exhibition opens to the public.

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7-10 p.m. From Abolition to #BLM: A Conversation with Danny Glover at the Burt Kahn Court, Mount Carmel Campus. Driven by activists like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman, early abolitionist efforts became the foundation for contemporary debates over the meaning of freedom. The Black Lives Matter movement, named for the hashtag started on Twitter, is steeped in the American tradition of using free speech and social actions to further the fight for justice and equality. In a fireside-chat style program with Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean, Glover will explore the similarities of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and its early abolitionist roots (especially Frederick Douglass) to build connections, increase dialogue and end racism.

Wednesday, Feb. 14. Happy Birthday, Frederick! Events throughout the day include special cupcakes and a chance to meet Nathan Richardson (Douglass enactor).

Tuesday, Feb. 20. “Frederick Douglass at 200.”
Memorial service to mark Frederick’s death on February 20, 1895. The service will include a selection of readings in English and Irish, accompanied by traditional Irish music and 19th-century American hymns. Light refreshments will be provided afterward. This event will take place at the Center for Religion on the Mount Carmel Campus.Thursday, February 22. Kenneth Morris and Nettie Douglass, descendants of Frederick Douglass, discuss how they are preserving his legacy. Also, a statue of Frederick Douglass at age 27 (when he visited Ireland) will be on display at the Quinnipiac University School of Law on the North Haven Campus, 370 Bassett Road, North Haven. For more information, please contact: Ann Marie Godbout, Assistant to Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, (203) 582-6576, ighi@qu.edu, http://www.qu.edu/on-campus/institutes-centers/irelands-great-hunger-institute/frederick-douglass-remembered.html.

Hate Has No Home Here: Silent Rally, Milford Green, Sunday, Oct. 8.

HHNHH, Milford Chapter

We — those who oppose racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, hate speech and bullying — will join in silence on the Milford Green to show our opposition to the hate we have witnessed in OUR communities, OUR neighborhoods and OUR schools.

We are an assembly of all ages, colors, religions, genders (and those without), nationalities, political parties (we are absolutely nonpartisan) and sizes.

This is not just a Milford issue, it is a Connecticut issue, it is a national issue. We invite those who have witnessed hate to join us and send a clear message to the world: Hate Has No Home Here. Silent Rally, Milford Green, Sunday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m., 125 N. Broad St., Milford.

Mary Johnson, March 29, 1922-Aug. 13, 2017

It is with great sadness that the Progressive Action Roundtable Planning Committee informs our readers that Mary Johnson, a founding member of PAR and leader, strategist and active participant in most of PAR’s committees, has passed on.

We dedicate this issue of our newsletter to Mary. Without her guidance, ideas for informing the public and each other of rallies and events, optimism in the struggle for justice and her persistence in fighting for people’s rights throughout the years, there may not have even been a Progressive Action Roundtable. We all owe so much to her.

Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

Mary was directly active in many of the organizations that are PAR-affiliated. She was also active in most of New Haven’s progressive organizations. She most likely was a founding member of many.
She was a great political and personal influence on many. PAR encourages our readers to send in their reminiscences of her. In the words of Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

A memorial is being planned for her with details upcoming.

ICE Overrides Blumenthal on Deportation | NHIndy

Christopher Peak, New Haven Independent, Aug 21, 2017

Marco Antonio Reyes Alvarez, the undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant who has found sanctuary from deportation in a church downtown, might face a pro-longed stay at First & Summerfield due to a new directive that limits the ability of members of Congress to halt remov-al orders. Federal legislators have regularly introduced “private immigration bills,” which, if passed, would grant permanent legal residency to a person who entered the coun-try illegally. More importantly, while the private immigra-tion bills were being considered, federal agents at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) used to hold off on deporting the individual. If a U.S. senator was willing to stick his neck out for an undocumented immigrant, author-ities would take that into consideration before kicking the immigrant out of the country. Read the full article at NewHavenIndependent.org.

Celebrate May Day May 1 with International Workers’ Day Rally and General Strike

Call for General Strike on May 1!

For full video coverage of the May Day festivities, visit http://www.thestruggle.org/Mayday%202017%20in%20New%20Haven.htm.

The rally begins with speakers and performers on the New Haven Green from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 1, and will be followed by a Solidarity March starting at 5 p.m.

New Haven joins a call for a nationwide strike to demonstrate our economic power by not going to work, not going to school and stopping business as usual. We aim to highlight the economic power of workers: immigrants, women, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, Native Americans and African Americans and every other marginalized group that is currently under attack by the Trump administration.

We are asking you to join us and show solidarity: close your business on May 1; don’t go to work; don’t go to school.

Join the rally on the New Haven Green from 12 to 5 p.m. Speakers, live music, children’s activities, and a May pole! Join local justice, peace, equality, and labor groups as well as social service organizations, educators, students, healthcare workers, artists and ALL people on the Green.

Join the international workers’ march from the Green through Fair Haven at 5 p.m.

Funded in part by a grant from RESIST, Somerville, MA; web: http://resist.org; phone: (617) 623-5110.

Discussion Series Talks Immigrant Rights

by Rocel Beatriz Balmes & Sara Tabin, Yale Daily News Staff

Over 50 New Haven residents and Yale affiliates gathered in the Yale Law School on Monday night to discuss immigrant and worker rights as part of the final installment of the Yale and New Haven Discussion Series.

The event, titled “Local Activism in the Trump Age: Protect Immigrant and Worker Rights,” began with a panel and then opened into a group discussion. Panelists included Fatima Rojas of Unidad Latina en Acción, Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri of JUNTA for Progressive Action, Rev. James Manship of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and Michael Wishnie ’87 LAW ’93 of the Law School. Monday’s discussion, the fourth and final one in the series for this academic year, centered on current activism in New Haven and the role allies can play in the efforts to resist President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policy.

“[Trump] has really created this heightened anxiety and depression in our community,” Rivera-Forastieri said. “[This] is something I have never seen before.”

During the panel, Rivera-Forastieri said many allies have come forward since November’s election to help, but that at times the outpouring of support can be overwhelming. Some have ended up creating more work for immigrant advocacy groups, who have to reply to emails and keep track of the new volunteers, she added.

Read the whole story here at Yale Daily News: Discussions series talks immigrant rights

Get Involved with SURJ New Haven

SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change. To get involved, join the SURJ New Haven General Body Google Group. We use this group to let members know about last-minute events and actions as well as to coordinate SURJ’s presence at actions. Go to groups.google.com, search for our google group, and click “join.”

Another way to get more involved is by volunteering with our committees and working groups to organize and facilitate events. These groups often meet outside of general body meetings. If you see a project you might be interested in, email gina.p.roussos@gmail.com to get connected with the co-chairs.
Education Committee. Co-chairs: Amber Kelly, Gina Roussos, and Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer, working to educate our community on racial justice issues through film screenings, workshops, and group discussions.

Action Committee. Co-chairs: Mandy McGuire-Schwartz, Karen Grossi, and Sarah Lipkin. Get out in the streets! Work directly on campaigns for racial justice! Work in solidarity with local orgs to directly challenge white supremacy!

Canvassing Committee. Co-chairs: Ian Skoggard and Fabian Menges, developing inclusive outreach and base.

Deportation Defense Committee. Co-chairs: Natalie Alexander and Anna Robinson-Sweet collaborating with Unidad Latina en Acción to resist deportations and advocating for policies that protect our immigrant community.

Research Committee. Chair: Mandy McGuire-Schwartz, conducting background research to inform and support existing and new campaigns.

Fundraising Committee. Co-chairs: Reed Miller and Chelsea Granger, working to raise funds to support SURJ’s work and the work of local POC-led orgs.

New Haven Public Schools Committee. Chair: Karen Grossi, building a community coalition addressing racial justice in New Haven public schools.

Welcoming Committee. Co-chairs: Karen Grossi and Kacey Perkins, orienting new members to SURJ’s work and helping them find ways to plug in.

Criminal Justice Committee. Chair: Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer, designing campaigns to demand police accountability in local cases of police brutality and in pursuance of criminal justice.

Hundreds Pledge To Fight Deportations

by Lucy Gellman, New Haven Independent, Feb 16, 2017

After a day of false alarms, over 100 people packed a downtown gathering spot to sign up to serve as legal observers, accompany defendants to court, get arrested at protests, and put a rapid-response hotline on speed dial in preparation of anticipated federal raids on undocumented immigrants.

That event took place Wednesday evening at the New Haven Peoples Center on Howe Street.

Starting at 7 p.m., over 100 New Haveners and people from surrounding communities — with dozens left waiting outside — packed the venue’s main room for “Resisting Deportation: A Workshop for Allies.” The two-hour event—part info session, part call-to-arms—was hosted by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) New Haven, with several members from Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) and Junta for Progressive Action.

Read the entire report here: Hundreds Pledge To Fight Deportations | New Haven Independent

“We Won’t Go Back!” People’s World African American History Month Celebration

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“Revisiting Frederick Douglass Two Centuries Later: WE WON’T GO BACK,” is the theme of this year’s 43rd Annual People’s World African American History Month Celebration.

The event to be held on Sunday, February 26, will feature guest speaker James M. Bradford, drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and a performance by Ice the Beef Youth including the speech that famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave in New Haven.

The event will be held at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave. After filling the Peoples Center to overflow for years, a larger venue was chosen last year.

Douglass’ extraordinary leadership for freedom guides us in today’s stormy political climate with his powerful call to action: “If there is no struggle, there can be no progress….Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will….The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

In 1864 Douglass (1817-1895) addressed more than 1,200 free Black men gathered at Grapevine Point (now Criscuolo Park) in New Haven to become soldiers in the 29th Regiment of the Union Army and fight in the Civil War.

Guest speaker James M. Bradford is active in the anti-prison movement and Working America in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He chairs the Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Winners of the High School Arts and Writing Competition will present their essays, poems or artwork on the theme “How can we best unite against bigotry and injustice?”

Students are asked to express in artwork, poetry, essay or song: “On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, leading abolitionist, orator and writer who fought against slavery and for women’s rights, how can we unite against hate, bigotry and injustice to continue his legacy in today’s world?” Submissions must be received at 37 Howe St. by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Also on exhibit will be drawings from the Martin Luther King celebration at Peabody Museum created at the People’s World table on the theme, “How can we best unite against hate?”

Donation is $5 or what you can afford. For more information e-mail: ct-pww@pobox.com.

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